Learning To Take a ‘Soulfie’ at Hanukkah
Want more great Hanukkah ideas? Find articles, crafts, and recipes in Jvillage's Hanukkah Guide.
What would Hanukkah be without the burning candles reminding us of God’s miracles in the time of the Maccabees and in our own days? But the candles we kindle on the holiday—which begins the evening of December 12—can also teach us about the miracle shining within each of us. As Proverbs 20:27 reminds us: “God’s candle is the human soul.” We are carrying God’s light within us. It burns like a pilot light, always available to help us and guide us. It’s our responsibility to honor and tend that light, to keep sharing it and spreading it.
Who Saved Israel in 1947?
Martin Kramer for Mosaic
The usual answer is Truman—but it could just as easily be Stalin. In fact, thanks to Zionist diplomacy, it was both; and therein lies a lesson for the Jewish state today.
November 29 marks the 70th anniversary of UN General Assembly resolution 181, recommending the partition of Mandate Palestine into two separate Jewish and Arab states. On that day in 1947, millions of listeners sat glued to their radio sets to follow the voting. The outcome set off spontaneous celebrations among Zionists everywhere, for it constituted the first formal international endorsement of a Jewish state.
To celebrate the anniversary, Israel’s embassy to the United Nations is restoring the hall in Flushing Meadows, New York—today the main gallery of the Queens Museum, then the meeting place of the General Assembly—to its appearance in 1947. The announced plan is to reenact the vote, with the current ambassadors of member states that voted “yes” recasting their ballots.
The Kibbutz Movement
The proud and turbulent history of Israel's experiment in communal living.
The kibbutz — a collectively owned and run community — holds a storied place in Israeli culture, and Jews (and non-Jews) from around the world, including 2016 Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders, have volunteered on them. Launched in 1909, with the founding of Degania, Israel’s first kibbutz, this unique movement has changed dramatically over its more-than-100-year history.
Degania, in northern Israel, was founded by a group of young Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. They dreamed of working the land and creating a new kind of community, and a new kind of Jew — stronger, more giving, and more rooted in the land.
Kabbalah and Mysticism 101
Jewish mysticism has taken many forms.
The Jewish mystical tradition is rich and diverse, and Jewish mysticism has taken many forms. Scholar Moshe Idel groups the different expressions of Jewish mysticism into two fundamental types: moderate and intensive. Moderate mysticism is intellectual in nature. It is an attempt to understand God and God’s world, and ultimately affect and change the divine realm. This type of mysticism incorporates many aspects of traditional Judaism, including Torah study and the performance of the commandments, infusing these activities with mystical significance. Intensive mysticism, on the other hand, is experiential in nature. Intensive mystics use nontraditional religious activities, including chanting and meditation, in an attempt to commune with God.
Jews and Beer: 8 Surprising Facts
For centuries Jews have been vital in the production and marketing of beer.
Here are 8 surprising facts about Jews and this history of this popular drink.
Beer-making dates to ancient times. Egyptian tombs depict pictures of beer brewing; Hammurabi’s Code, from 18th century BCE Mesopotamia, mentions beer; the ancient Greeks learned how to brew beer from Egyptians and brought this knowledge to Europe.
Ancient Israel, in contrast, favored wine over beer. But after the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, Jews were exiled to nearby Babylonia and adopted the Babylonian taste for beer. The Talmud records four different types of beer, brewed from barley, dates, figs and beer (Pesachim 107a). The modern usage of hops, a plant related to mulberries, in beer is also mentioned in the Talmud, which notes hops’ medicinal properties of being a preservative and antiseptic (Avodah Zarah 31b).